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Here’s something to make the average music rightsholder spit their cornflakes across the room in shock: an official European Union document spelling out that “online platform operators, such as YouTube and Uploaded, are not directly liable for the illegal uploading of protected works by the users of those platforms”.

But don’t waste your breakfasts, as there are some big caveats here. First, the document is an opinion by the advocate general of the European Union’ Court of Justice, Saugmandsgaard Øe, based partly on a case brought against YouTube and Google by German music producer Frank Peterson. It’s not a binding opinion.

Second, the document makes it clear that Øe’s opinion is not based on the new European Copyright Directive, which introduces liability for platforms like YouTube, but rather on the existing legislation – because the directive is still being implemented by individual EU countries, it doesn’t yet apply to the cases he’s writing the opinion for.

Øe’s opinion is still worth reading, but it doesn’t represent a sudden change in policy for the European copyright regime.

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Stuart Dredge

Music Ally's Head of Insight

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